Cooking the books on virginity.

A mathematician's guide to the news.
July 7 2005 6:48 AM

Sex and Significance

How the Heritage Foundation cooked the books on virginity.

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But Brückner and Bearman aren't campaigning. They don't try, for example, to hide the finding that virginity pledges delay and decrease nonmarital intercourse; they even wrote a long paper in 2000 on the contexts in which pledges are most effective. They're not sneering libertines lobbing condoms over the walls of your daughter's virtue; they're scientists, doing their jobs. Rector and Johnson are spinners, doing theirs. If you want to study a significant difference, look no further.

Jordan Ellenberg is a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin. His book How Not To Be Wrong is forthcoming. He blogs at Quomodocumque.